On the heels of the announcement of the new Patrick Stewart Picard Star Trek Show, CBS has followed up with news that there will be additional Star Trek original programming.
Star Trek is in the news again. While I have hopes this new programming and the upcoming sophomore season of Star Trek Discovery will be good (the first season was mostly fucking trash) as we discussed together, based on the douchebag creative team, I’m under no illusions it will be.
With that said it’s time to reflect on literally the very best of Star Trek and easily one of the top 5 greatest films of the 1980s, Star Trek 2 The Wrath of Khan.
Released in 1982, two years after the successful but not altogether well received Star Trek The Motion Picture, TWOK was essentially a reboot.
The ingenious Nicholas Meyer was brought in who had zero experience with Star Trek but ample experience and understanding of classic swashbuckling literature. Nick watched all the original Star Trek episodes and was immediately struck by the similarities of Kirk, Spock and Bones adventures to that of Horatio Hornblower’s naval exploits by C.S. Forester. He also “obviously” realized the Enterprise was a military exploration vessel and the settings should reflect this. He brought a more gritty, militaristic approach and look to the Starship Enterprise.
And he realized that Kirk was approaching what used to be considered middle age back in the 80’s, his 50th birthday. He made the decision to have Shatner play that up. There was also the twists of bringing back a villain from the TOS bent on revenge and killing off Spock. Meyer also brought back that charismatic humor and sense of brotherhood between the leads sorrowly lacking in the first film.
Perhaps of equal importance, Roddenberry was neutered and removed from the production.
The result was magic. Shatner gave a fantastic performance, Ricardo Montalbon will be remembered as one of cinemas greatest villains of all time and the death of Spock had the nation in tears.
Meyer also worked with unsung hero Harve Bennett on the production, who got amazing results from the significantly meager budget. Some stock effects from Star Trek The Motion Picture we’re recycled. The new effects by ILM, though not as photorealistic as Douglass Trumbull’s, are still the benchmark for outer space battles to this day. Star Trek 2 also holds the distinction of having the first all CGI sequence during the Genesis presentation scene in Kirk’s quarters.
I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention James Horner’s greatest musical score. Every note perfection, every note building emotion and tension. The best music scores can be listened to with absolutely no dialogue and one can still be totally immersed into the film. This score, Jerry Goldsmith’s Star Trek The Motion Picture score, Williams Superman and Star Wars all perfect masterpieces and among the finest scores in the history of cinema.
Star Trek 2 The Wrath of Khan is by far the most poignant Star Trek Film. And arguably the most poignant of its genre. No other film of its genre deals with so much of humanity in one film. Loss, revenge, aging, love, family, hatred, joy, obsession, exhilaration, pragmatism, self-sacrifice. It is literally a perfect movie. Perfectly written, acted, directed, produced and executed. If you don’t agree you’re a dumbass.
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